A not-so-hostile takeover
By J Walter Weatherman
How would you describe a hostile takeover? According to the website www.answers.com, the definition of a hostile takeover is ‘an acquisition of a firm despite resistance by the target firm’s management and board of directors’.
Which really is the complete opposite of Monday’s takeover of Course You Can Malcolm by the RRF, AKA the Frilly Fronts, not least because there’d be more chance of Mario Balotelli appearing on Question Time to grill a Tory MP about NHS cuts than there would be the Oddies having a board of directors, but more because the takeover was far from hostile and in fact welcomed.
A few weeks ago, as a way of showing our appreciation for all the hard work put in by the good people of CYCM, an offer was put to them by the RRF to take over for the day and give them the chance to do something they’ve not been able to do for a few years now: mainly the chance to relax and actually watch a home game.
The start of the day was greeted with a grim determination to get things right and not completely and utterly fuck up, so when a full hour after the beer should have been delivered we were still standing in the shadows of Gigg Lane nervously waiting, the sight of the white van pulling into the car park with our aley bounty was greeted with a level of joy and relief on a par with a Ben Deegan penalty save. Malcolms with no beer? It’s like seeing Michael Owen in a United shirt, it’s an affront to everything good and decent in the world. However, as this nightmare scenario didn’t happen (if only the same could be said about Owen), we were free to unload the beer, and it wasn’t long before the flags were up and a variety of home-made foods were prepped for their journeys into a large number of Mancunian stomachs.
After all the hours of rigorous planning (actually that might be stretching it a wee bit) and the grafting, we were on the verge of actually putting Course You Can Malcolm on. This wasn’t just a vague concept any more, we were diving in head first and actually doing it. Squeaky bum time as a rather famous champagne socialist once said.
I was the lucky member of the group who’d been given the daunting task of getting on the mic for the afternoon, and as there were some extremely large Twomowers-sized shoes to fill, I was looking forward to a bit of time to get myself composed and my thoughts ready.
That is, until it was pointed out to me that a kid had been sick on the stairs and no-one knew where the cleaning equipment was kept. Mumbling something about a baptism of fire I dashed off to the social club, returning minutes later mop in tow while the young un’s Dad set to task on the carroty bits of half digested mush.
With any notions of calm preparation out of the window, it was onto introducing the day and explaining why the gimpy lot who are normally to be found sitting around talking utter nonsense in Malcolms were actually running things.
Having said that though, things were going well; my fellow Frillies were running a smooth ship and it wasn’t long before I was due to address the hordes once more and host what was to be the first quiz of the day. And then I got a text from my girlfriend informing me someone had just crashed into her car. Thankfully she was fine, but I couldn’t help thinking there was a higher power looking down on me and laughing.
Undeterred however we went on, and it appeared that people were actually enjoying themselves, and despite the change of faces it was business as usual for the crowd, which above all else had been our main aim for the day (okay, so there wasn’t the usual team sheet reading, but it was left well alone for fear of butchering it).
As the day wore on, there was a creeping feeling that we were actually going to pull it off; we’d kept people happy, Margy had played his part by being as shit as ever and the food and drink was going down a storm (there was a worrying moment when there appeared to be several people crying, but it turned out they’d just eaten Swinefinger’s incredibly hot curry. I just hope they had plenty of Toilet Duck at home).
As the day flew by in a blur of homemade food, quizzes, music and mirth, it seemed like no time before kick-off had already kicked-off, half time had been and gone and after we’d momentarily gooned around like idiots thinking Kendal had been denied a last minute winner, it was all over and time to lug everything back downstairs.
And it was this part of the day more than any other that hit home what a sacrifice the Oddies make every home game. While people have had a few beers, had a good sing song and are then off for yet more beers, for some there are still flags to be untied, stray beer bottles to seek out and fridges to carry back to the mainstand, amongst many, many other things.
Still, we found the time to afford ourselves a collective pat on the back, but none of it would have been possible if it wasn’t for a lot of hard work, a few special donkeys (with a big thanks to Naughty Face, the cheekiest of all the donkeys at the Devon Donkey sanctuary. Well he was in 1982 anyway, he’s probably dead now), and everyone who was there to enjoy the music, food, beer and entertainment.
And of course, no write up on Malcolms would be complete without a big, big thank you to the Three Tenas, and not just because if they didn’t get a thanks they’d viciously beat me to within an inch of my life, but because they’re always there serving the ale, channelling the spirit of Malcolms into beer-fuelled happiness.
So it looks like we somehow pulled it off and did it. And who knows, you lucky people might even get us again at some point next season. But only if you’re nice.